AMERICAN FORK, Utah – The Alpine School District was preparing scheduling options for the 2021-2022 school year and could make a decision as soon as the next board meeting on May 11, officials said.
“The sooner we make a decision, the better, so that we can get plans underway,” said David Stephenson, the district’s administrator of public relations, “but there is no deadline that it has to be made on May 11.”
Because of the pandemic, the district modified the class schedule this year, and Stephenson said they want to implement some of the lessons learned because of those changes.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to look at different possibilities for how we not only instruct students, but look at schedule variations,” he said.
Alpine School District sent out a survey to parents, teachers and students about what the 2021-2022 school year’s class schedule should look like and got 21,154 responses.
At a board meeting on Tuesday, the district presented the results of the survey as well as scheduling options for elementary and secondary schools. Some parents said they were caught off guard by some of the proposals.
“I feel like the parents are expecting that we are going to go back to what we were doing pre-COVID and this is drastically different,” said Naiyana Harrison of American Fork. “And it’s a whole different approach, especially in the elementary.”
For elementary schools, the option presented during the April 27 meeting was to change to a standard start-and-stop time for all students in a school by eliminating early and late tracks.
“I would like to see the district slow down a little bit,” said Harrison, whose four children attend school in the district. “I don’t understand what the rush is to implement this by next year. I would like to some pilot programs, possibly to investigate how this could possibly run before the entire district moves to it.”
For secondary schools, two options were presented at the meeting. The first had students attending in-person classes five days a week, with Wednesday as an early-out day. The other option had early release on all five days for middle and high schools.
District employees will be working throughout the weekend to finish the scheduling proposals and will then send them out to parents Monday afternoon, Stephenson said. The district will then plan to gather more feedback before making a decision.
If the scheduling changes are drastic for next year, bus schedules in the Alpine School District — the state’s largest — will be another item that will need to be sorted out.
“I just really want parents to know that this is even happening,” Harrison added.